Author: Tami Strang

NewsVault Erases Research Restrictions Caused by Limited Supply of Nineteenth Century Newspapers

Do readers today understand works of Victorian fiction like Dracula the way readers in the nineteenth century did? It’s a question Linda Friday, a teaching assistant and sponsored Ph.D. candidate at England’s Edgehill University, has spent much of her academic career trying to answer. “The contemporary reader’s understanding of a novel such as Dracula would have been different from ours,” Friday contends. “That perspective would have been influenced by the newspapers they were reading at the time, which is something lost to the modern reader who is unaware of the relationships between news items and the novel.” Besides the complexity Read More…


MindTap at the University of Pittsburgh

A group of University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) students saw a demo of the MindTap platform and gave their initial impressions of the many available features. The fifty-seven students surveyed are majoring in a variety of subjects, from biology to business to psychology.

Overall, the students responded very positively to MindTap, with 77% of the students rating their initial reaction as Favorable or Very Favorable.
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Tax Student Gains Critical Thinking Skills, Efficiency, and Concept Mastery with CengageNOW for Tax

Nina Messery, a full-time student at William Patterson University in New Jersey, is deep into her accounting classes as she shoots for her goal of becoming CPA certified and working toward a job in the public accounting field. As a junior, Messery is quickly learning that her discipline-specific courses are becoming more challenging, and as
such, require better preparation and concept mastery. But, like many college students, she admits she waits too long to get started with some assignments, which can add to her daily stress. Her current tax class is the only course in which she’s currently Read More…


Even More Icebreakers for College Courses!

You let us know loud and clear… You want icebreakers!

In that spirit, we’re sharing three additional icebreakers for college courses, submitted by Cengage Learning Faculty Partners Essie Childers, Mary Margarita Legner, and Solomon Willis. Check out their fun ideas and try them out in your own courses!

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The Top Steps Students Take to Ensure College Success

At the beginning of the year—and at the beginning of a new term—it’s natural for students to start thinking about how they might maintain or improve their success in college.

To hone their college success skills, students might ask their peers what they’re doing to “raise the bar” academically. It’s also instructive for students to consider some steps they could take, but haven’t yet implemented.

In an effort to understand students’ study habits—and with a desire to share these insights with you and your students—we recently sent out the latest version of our Student Engagement Insights survey. Among the many questions posed in the survey, we asked: “Beyond completing assigned coursework (e.g. readings and homework), what steps do you take to ensure that you succeed in a class?” Nearly twenty thousand students responded. Below, we talk about their answers and outline some tips that can help your students adopt some of these strategies for success.

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Commuter Student with Distractions at Home Struggles to Focus on Difficult Accounting Concepts

It’s no wonder Nick Dispenziere, a senior accounting major who has just completed a tax course at William Patterson University in New Jersey, has always been good with numbers. “My family is in the accounting business so I thought it would be a good fit,” Dispenziere said. “I enjoy the profession and like solving problems, which is necessary to be a good accountant.”

Accounting may be in Dispenziere’s blood, but that doesn’t mean earning a degree in a challenging subject, especially as a student who commutes eighty miles roundtrip to and from school, is easy. “I have two little brothers at home, which can really be a distraction,” Dispenziere said. “That’s why even on days I don’t have class I often drive into school and study in the library where it’s quieter.”

It was at the school library Dispenziere learned a secret; just because it’s quiet doesn’t mean students are motivated to complete what can be tedious tax homework assignments.

To motivate students like Dispenziere to engage more with homework assignments, William Patterson University recently began using CengageNOW (CNOW), an online collection of resources that provides accounting students with engaging homework assignments, instant performance feedback, and problem-solving skills that result in improved exam performance. The cloud-based collection of tools was created to help students master difficult concepts, reach higher levels of thinking, and achieve the level of mastery they need to be successful in the real world.
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Demanding Accounting Course Taxes Busy Students Attempting to Learn Difficult Subject Matter

For Kristen Cregg, an accomplished junior majoring in Accounting at William Patterson University in New Jersey, the dream of one day working full time at one of the four major accounting firms can seem a long way off. Even Cregg, who has worked part time at an accounting firm since she was a teen, struggles at times with detailed subject matter that can be difficult to learn.

Tax students are asked to master many difficult concepts and students like Kristin are looking for a solution that will make tax principles more understandable and ultimately prepare them to sit for the CPA exam.

To help students better understand tax concepts, Cregg’s University recently implemented CengageNOW (CNOW), an online collection of resources that provides taxation students with engaging homework assignments, instant performance feedback, and problem solving skills that result in improved exam performance. The assignments created in CNOW are designed to promote genuine comprehension and take some of the intimidation out of learning complicated tax concepts. One feature that accomplishes this, Post Submission Feedback, offers students instant analysis of their performance.
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Instructor Frustrated with Tedious Administrative Chores Finds Relief with OWLv2

Houston Brown, a chemistry professor at the University of Houston–Downtown, often felt as if he was anything but a professor. Instead of spending the bulk of his time helping introductory and organic chemistry students better understand and comprehend difficult subject matter, Brown regularly found himself tending to a learning management system that laboriously soaked up his time and patience.

Besides Brown, students at UHD were demanding more from the platform that constituted twenty-percent of their grade. It’s one reason Brown was happy to switch to Cengage Learning’s OWLv2, a cloud-based learning system that provides chemistry students with a collection of study and test preparation tools designed to foster engagement and better grades.

One feature that helps Brown and his students focus more on what matters is the on-demand feedback OWLv2 provides students during homework assignments. Besides organizing and prioritizing assignments in visually appealing ways, OWLv2 allows students to identify in real time why exactly they answered a problem incorrectly. It also provides Brown with the analytics required to intervene immediately.
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MindTap Education Helps Teach Tomorrow’s Teachers

Tonya Misuraca teaches courses on guidance and classroom management, activity therapy for special needs children, and exceptional children in the Early Childhood Department at South Carolina’s Trident Technical College. Students can earn certificates in various childhood education-related areas as well as associate of applied science degrees in fields such as child care management and special education.

To support the diverse learning needs of her students as they prepare for their careers, Tonya has used MindTap® Education for two years. Forty percent of Tonya’s hybrid activity therapy course is tied to MindTap. Classes
meet once a week and students complete the rest of the course online. MindTap helps to engage Tonya’s students in active learning, in part by introducing them to what they may encounter in their future professions.
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Without Needed Textbooks and Resources, an Instructor’s Job Becomes Tougher Than Usual

Teaching college students about centuries-old works of literature, as Karen Gevirtz does at Seton Hall University, is especially difficult considering this: there are no textbooks or course materials designed for Gevirtz’s “Catholic Women Writers of the 17th and 18th Centuries” course.

Many of the texts that do exist are housed thousands of miles away on bookshelves the majority of Gevirtz’s students will never have an opportunity to touch or feel, much less read and study. It’s why she often found herself scouring the library and wasting time searching for materials to support classroom lessons. It reminded Gevirtz of the limitations she experienced as a doctoral student; using microfilm for research that was cumbersome and slow. The databases weren’t much better; they, too, were slow, and also difficult to search. For years, not much would change for students seeking hard-to-find texts.

What students trying to connect with works that are hundreds of years old often find beneficial is appreciating those texts in their cultural context and seeing them in their original form. A great way to achieve this for students, according to Gevirtz, is Cengage Learning’s Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO), a cloud-based compilation of teaching, learning, and research resources that includes every significant title printed in the United Kingdom in the 18th century and thousands from the Americas.
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